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Journalists released on bail amid reports of torture

The detained editor of the Zimbabwean independent ‘Standard’ newspaper and his reporter were released on bail Thursday with visible signs of torture on their bodies, news organisations reported.

Editor Mark Chavunduka and reporter Ray Choto, who were arrested and detained earlier this month for publishing a story on an alleged coup attempt against the Zimbabwean government, bore signs of cigarette burns and electric shocks.

Reports quoted their lawyer Simon Bull as saying the two men were subjected to various forms of torture by the military which had been holding them, including submersion in drums of water.
The ‘Standard’s” managing editor Clive Wilson said the torture was intended to force them to reveal the sources of their report, although he said they gave out no information.

Their release comes after repeated failure by the authorities to comply with High Court orders demanding that they should be set free. Defence Minister Moven Mahachi has strongly denied the coup story, dubbing it the work of Zimbabwe’s enemies who want to bring down the government. But AP says the the military’s fierce reaction to the story has triggered speculation a purge may have taken place in the army.

The two journalists were released on US $250 bail and ordered to reappear in court on 22 February for “publishing falsified information”.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information:

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